Short local walk in my new boots

I bought a new pair of boots yesterday, Scarpa Rangers for about the fifth time! I found there is a good outdoors shop in Stony Stratford (now part of Milton Keynes, where I started the MK Boundary Trail) – I found it by chance on the internet while researching boots, they had a good web site and had all the boots I was thinking of trying, so I was delighted when I saw their shop was only 40 minutes drive away. I wanted to try another Scarpa boot, the ZG65 XCR, but they didn’t have them in my size (second shop where that’s happened!) and didn’t know when they’ll have them in. I tried some Meindl boots, which I’ve read many good things about, but they were too narrow for my feet. Tried a different Scarpa boot, nice fit, very comfortable feel – except I could feel it pressing down on my big toes. Tried it in the next size up (47), but while the toes were now OK, of course the rest of my foot was loose and sliding up and down all over the place. So I bought the Rangers again, as they fit my feet very well – I’m just disappointed how quickly the last pair cracked over the bottom of the toes, the cracks eventually leading to actual holes in the leather. I probably managed to get 1800 miles out of them, so I shouldn’t really complain.

This morning I did a short local walk for just over 2 hours, in order to start breaking the new boots in. I walked up the road for quarter of a mile, then took the path that led downhill and then further up the valley to meet the path round the quarry. I followed this round to the left, crossed over the drive to the quarry, and made my way to the top of Dunstable Downs. It was very misty thus far – I hadn’t actually seen the quarry as I went by, though I’d heard the diggers and trucks working away there.

I turned left along the downs. Beyond the new visitor centre I saw both Red and White Campion growing. I took the bridleway going left towards Whipsnade – I’d walked this on my longer local walk on Monday, but this time instead of forking right I stayed on the path that took me to part of the green at Whipsnade, close to the Old Hunter’s Lodge restaurant. I went half-right across the green, going uphill and across the road to reach the church. I said hello to some people cutting the hedges as I walked through the churchyard. The footpath then took me along the edge of a meadow, before I turned right along another hedgerow to reach the old lane between Whipsnade and Holywell.

I turned left, again on the route of Monday’s walk, but instead of turning right alongside the zoo fence, I carried on further down the lane and turned right immediately before the first house in Holywell. I was now on a very pleasant and clear path that took me across three or four fields (stubble or ploughed) to Studham church. I didn’t actually enter the churchyard, but turned left with the churchyard on my right.

A short distance further on, I turned left at a path crosroads and followed a hedgeline on my left to reach the Studham-Whipsnade Heath road. A path on the other side led through a wood and then across a field, befoere running along the back of some gardens in Holywell, and eventually reaching Buckwood Lane. I went up Dovehouse Lane almost opposite, before crossing a couple of fields (where I heard and saw a skylark). It was then a short distance along the Whipsnade road back to my home in Kensworth (the last part of this walk, from Holywell on, was the same as the finish to Monday’s walk).

No problems with the new boots, they inevitably felt a bit stiff and new as I set off, but that soon wore off and they felt really comfortable by the time I got home.

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